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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Crane for Non-Music Majors

Frequently Asked Questions

You don’t have to be a music major to take advantage of performance and study opportunities at The Crane School of Music! Find out more about how SUNY Potsdam students from other majors can get involved below. More questions? Contact us at or (315) 267- 2812.

    What music courses can non-music majors take?

    Crane regularly offers a number of courses designed for non-music majors, including those listed below. Please note that not all of the courses listed will be offered every semester. For more information, consult the academic catalog - and note that some of these courses will fulfill general education requirements in the arts (AE or AC).

    • MULH 101: Crane Live!
    • MULH 110: Music Through the Ages
    • MULH 161 Global Pop Music and Urban Cultures
    • MULH 204: Introduction to Musical Theater
    • MULH 261: Music of Africa
    • MULH 340: The Music of the Beatles
    • MULT 101 Music Theory for Non-Music Majors
    • MULT 201: Accelerated Music Theory for Non-Music Majors
    • MULP 101 & 102: Class Piano I and II
    • MULP 103 & 104: Class Voice I and II
    • MULP 105, 106 & 107: Instrumental Lessons (105), Piano Lessons (106), and Voice Lessons (107) for the Non-Music Major
    • MULP 129: Beginning Guitar

    Courses designed for non-music majors have an "L" or "A" as the third letter in their course subject code (L = Liberal Arts Students and A = All Students), while the last letter of the code refers to the subject of the course (H=music history, for example). Courses with a third letter of "C" are restricted to Crane students (music majors) only, so these courses are not available to non-music majors.

    Can non-music majors play in Crane Ensembles?

    Crane ensembles are open to all students at SUNY Potsdam. Some ensembles require a placement audition. Choral auditions are heard by one or more choral ensemble directors at designated times; contact the Coordinator of Choral Ensembles, Dr. Jeffrey Francom, for more information. Instrumental ensemble auditions are heard by the studio teacher(s) of each instrument (for example, the flute teacher hears all flute auditions and decides ensemble placement and seating). Please see the Crane School's faculty list or call (315) 267-2812 for the names of any specific instrumental instructors. Auditions are usually held the first two days of classes each semester. Sign-up sheets are available to schedule an audition time. Contact faculty ahead of time, as you will need to have time to prepare audition materials prior to the audition.

    Choral Ensembles:

    • MUAP 310: Potsdam Community Chorus (SATB, no audition required)
    • MUAP 350: Crane Chorus - see note below
    • MUAP 356: Hosmer Choir (SATB choir, no audition required)
    • MUAP 357: New Singers (SATB choir, no audition required)
    • MUAP 355: Phoenix Club (treble choir, audition required)
    • MUAP 358: Concert Choir (SATB choir, audition required)

    Please Note: All choirs except Potsdam Community Chorus require students to co-register for MUAP 350 Crane Chorus as a requirement of the course. MUAP 350 Crane Chorus may also be taken alone, by audition.


    • MUAP 115: Campus/Community Band (no audition required)
    • MUAP 370: Crane Wind Ensemble (audition required)
    • MUAP 387: Crane Symphonic Band (audition required)
    • MUAP 388: Crane Concert Band (audition required)
    • There are also a number of like, special and chamber ensembles for wind players (audition required)


    • MUAP 362: Crane Symphony Orchestra (audition required)
    • MUAP 396: Opera Orchestra (placement is by faculty from students in Crane Symphony Orchestra)

    Note: Students need to register for the correct section of MUAP 362 depending on their instrument. String players will also be required to attend sectional rehearsals in addition to the regular Symphony Orchestra meeting time.

    How about concerts? What kinds of events go on at Crane and are any of them free?

    Please come to our concerts! All members of the campus community are invited to attend any of the numerous concerts that take place each week in The Crane School of Music’s three performance halls: the Hosmer Concert Hall, Snell Music Theater and Wakefield Recital Hall. Almost all of these events are free. These include student recitals, faculty performances, student ensemble concerts, operas, musical theatre productions, guest artists of all kinds, and much more. For a calendar of events, please see the campus events calendar.

    Crane, SUNY Potsdam and the community also sponsor the Community Performance Series which brings world famous artists and ensembles to campus. Tickets are required for these events. For more information, call the CPS Box Office, located in the Performing Arts Center Lobby, at (315) 267-2277.

    Is there a music minor that non-music majors can be part of?

    The Crane School of Music does not offer a generic music minor. Of the several minors we offer, the new musical theatre minor is open to music, theatre and dance majors only, by audition. Other than that, the music business minor is the only Crane program that admits nonmusic majors, as well as music majors. Students interested in this minor must get approval to add this minor from Professor Marc Ernesti, the program coordinator. Typically this is done in the first or second semester. There are two versions of this minor: the Music Business Minor is for Business Administration majors only (and can be found in the Business Administration part of the catalog), while the Business of Music minor is for all other majors (and is found in the Crane part of the catalog).

    Students interested in this minor are advised to take Micro- or Macroeconomics in their freshman year. However they should not register for Music Business I as a first semester freshman; it can be taken as early as  the student's second semester (or later). Other music industry (MUAI) courses require Music Business I as a prerequisite and so are taken in the following semesters.

    What if I want to become a music major? What courses should I take in the meantime? Can I "get started" on a music degree before being accepted to Crane as a music major?

    Each year, we have a small number of SUNY Potsdam students who are not currently music majors audition (or reaudition) to enter Crane. If you auditioned for us in the past and were not accepted, we recommend that you contact the faculty who auditioned you. Some faculty are willing to share their observations about your audition, and recommend ways to improve your skills. Some faculty are available for private lessons as well (see additional question below). Please note that, as with any auditioning student, there is no guarantee you will be accepted into The Crane School of Music. Not only will your audition have to be at a high enough level for admission, but the availability of studio space in your area is also a factor. Generally, only about 50% to 60% of the students who audition for Crane are admitted, although this will vary for each instrument and voice part.

    SUNY Potsdam students who plan to audition for Crane should consider the requirements of the music degree they wish to pursue when they select their courses. Non-music majors at SUNY Potsdam should take some General Education requirements, but be aware that the Bachelor of Music degrees have a smaller liberal arts core than other majors. Bachelor of Music students are not required to take FS, WI, SI and PI courses, and are only required to take one science course (either SB or SP, with the lab as optional). Courses required for the music major will cover three other requirements: AE, AC and WC. Details of the program requirements can be found on the degree plans page.

    We encourage non-music majors interested in Crane to enroll in either MULT 102: Accelerated Music Theory for Non-Music Majors (preferred) or MULT 101: Music Theory for Non-Music Majors, as these courses will help your musical skills as you prepare for your audition. Students who have not yet taken music major theory courses at the college level, but have passed Accelerated Music Theory for Non-Music Majors with a grade of 4.0, are permitted to take the transfer placement exam in order to attempt to place into Theory and Aural Skills II.

    Students should also perform in a Crane ensemble (see question two above). You may also wish to register for one of the "Lessons" courses (see question one above), although it is advisable to hire a private teacher to work with throughout the semester, leading to your audition or reaudition. Faculty may be able to assist you in finding an appropriate teacher in the area.

    Although the courses mentioned above are useful, they will typically not count toward degree requirements for music majors, nor will they speed up your progress to graduation should you become a music major. Most music degrees take 4 years, starting from the semester you become a music major (assuming that you do not have transfer hours in music from another institution, some of which may count towards a degree at Crane). There are a number of reasons for this; for example, most degrees require students to take 7 or 8 semesters of studio lessons, and studio lessons can only be taken one-at-a-time during the fall or spring semesters.

    Detailed information about auditions can be found online here. If you wish to start as a music major in a spring semester, make sure you register for our fall audition (in late November or early December). If you wish to start in a fall semester, you can register for any of our auditions. Make sure you register no later than two weeks before the audition date. Students are only permitted to audition once per audition "season" (November through March). Note that students auditioning for Crane who are already enrolled at SUNY Potsdam must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher to be eligible for admission to a music major.

    Can non-music majors take studio lessons with Crane faculty?

    No. Due to limited studio space, we can only offer private lessons with faculty to music majors. We do offer classes such as MULP 101 to 107 (see question one above) which allow students to take lessons either in a group (Class Piano and Class Voice) or one-on-one with music majors, under faculty supervision. Some faculty are available to give lessons privately, but those arrangements would have to be made between the student and the faculty member as to availability, frequency and costs. No college credit would be earned for these private lessons.

    Can non-music majors get storage space and use practice rooms in The Crane School of Music?

    Polices about The Crane School of Music facilities can all be found the Crane Undergraduate Student Handbook (pp 9-12). During the fall and spring semesters, when classes are in session,
    the Crane Music Center is open from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., from Monday through Friday, and
    from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., on weekends. At other times, building hours will be posted at
    entrances to the facility.

    • Storage space for instruments: There are instrument lockers in the Crane Music Center, but these are generally only available to music majors, due to limited space. Some may be available for non-music majors students who are in Crane ensembles; but otherwise, non-music majors cannot store instruments at Crane. Questions about lockers should be addressed to the Crane Instrument Technician, Miles DeCastro.
    • Practice Rooms: The Crane Center has 71 practice rooms for individual use; all of these are on the first floor, under the plaza. Ten of the rooms contain grand pianos and are reserved for piano majors, twelve of the rooms are designated for percussion majors' use and three are for organ/harp majors. Any of the remaining practice rooms may be used by any student at any hour the building is open (these are the unlocked practice rooms). A room is considered unoccupied if left vacant for 10 minutes, regardless of personal equipment left therein. Classrooms, rehearsal rooms, stairwells and performance halls are not considered open practice areas. Practice organs are only for use by students whose area of applied study is organ, unless special permission is obtained.
    • Instruments: Crane cannot provide non-music majors with instruments. This includes percussion instruments, although percussionists in ensembles will have access to necessary percussion equipment for ensemble rehearsals. Brick and Mortar Music, in downtown Potsdam, has many different instruments available for rental or purchase.